Going back to where I came from

My New York-trip is coming up, and in a little over a month I will cross the Atlantic ocean for the 7th time this year. I am so excited, both for the book event Jeremy is hosting and where Karlene will be speaking, as well as visiting family I haven’t seen in 19 years. Actually, I haven’t been to NYC in 19 years either (well, except from a layover at JFK in February) and I’m looking forward to return to the city of my roots.

“Your roots?” you might ask, but the truth is that my great grandmother and grandmother were both born in New York City.

Mathilde, or “Tilda” as they called her in NYC, my great grandmother, was born on the Hudson River in January 1911. Her father was a tug boat operator, and his family often joined him for work. As a result, Mathilde was born on a tug boat on the Hudson River!

Mathilde after she came to Norway

She was born of Norwegian parents, and after some years in NYC, they decided to go back to Norway. During that time back in Norway, she met the man of her life, but she had to go back to US, as times were tough, and there were no jobs to be found around here. She moved back to NYC and worked as a maid for several families. But throughout her stay in NYC, she could not forget that man she had met back in Norway, and right before the Great Depression, she returned to Norway, married John and lived happily in Norway until she passed away in 2005.

The family I’m visiting while I’m going to NYC, are descendants of John’s, my great grandfather, brother, Peder. Peder moved to NYC during those tough times in Norway in the early 1900s. Even though that family seems pretty distant, the guys I’ll be staying with are actually my mom’s second cousins.

My dad’s mom was born in New York City as well. Frida, my grandmother, was born in Brooklyn in December 1929. Of Norwegian parents, they moved back to Norway during the Great Depression. She passed away last year, and during a family gathering this weekend, we found her baptizing certificate, where it states what church she was baptized in.
“Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church”
Armed with my best friend, Google, I managed to find out the location of the church, and they are still open, though under a different name. They are called “59th Street Lutheran Brethren Church” now and is located on 59th Street in Brooklyn. I look forward to visit that church during my stay in NYC!

This is what the church looked like in 1929, right before my grandmother was baptized in March, 1930.


This will be a very special trip, and I can’t wait to return to the city where some of my roots are.



Posted on October 1, 2012, in blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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